In a period of seemingly pervasive C.O.N.T.R.O.L. talk between people in the form of incivility reinforced by politicians acting badly on TV and strangers acting badly online, managers can have a positive effect.
Employees’ Elephants do pay attention to their bosses, so bosses can make workplaces refuges of civility by simply making a clear statement, or setting a clear example, that politics are not to be discussed at work. In this way C.O.N.N.E.C.T. talk remains the rule and things get done better and faster.
I’ve argued that managers with a controlling rather than connective style undermine employees’ energy for the work, and as a result, their productivity. However, this is is one instance where a little control works wonders.
Connective talk is essential between coworkers. And, as with a controlling boss, incivility at work compels your Elephant mind to direct a good deal of your emotional energy into protecting yourself. You become wary and that self-protective use of your energy reduces your productivity.
In companies where organizational leaders have made a clear statement that politics can’t be discussed at work, or their behavior demonstrates this, civility in the form of C.O.N.N.E.C.T. talk reigns and the work gets done. Particularly the kind of work that requires emotional input.
NBC online news quotes, Amanda Ponzar, CMO at Community Health Charities. She says she works with Trump supporters and Democrats, and people of all ages and backgrounds, but that everyone gets along, in part, because they don’t talk about politics.
“Even though we don’t all agree, I feel respected and valued by my colleagues,” said Ponzar. “I enjoy their company, passion, and talent. We try to do fun things like bring in ice-cream, walk to Starbucks together, etc. and there’s a strong sense of friendship and camaraderie.”
Health Charities CFO and COO Molly Gravholt noted that while there’s no official rule against talking politics, employees have “made a practice of not speaking about it,” a practice that “comes from the top,” Gravholt added.
NBC News.com, June 21, 2017.